Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Overworked Americans Can't Use Up Limited Vacation Time

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Overworked Americans Can't Use Up Limited Vacation Time

Article excerpt

One in six American employees is so overworked that he or she is unable to use up annual vacation time, despite the fact that Americans have the least vacation time in the industrialized world, according to a national survey conducted by Oxford Health Plans.

"This survey is a wake-up call for Americans to realize that taking a vacation is not frivolous behavior. It's essential to staying healthy," said Alan Muney, chief medical officer and executive vice president at Oxford Health Plan. "Regular vacations are preventive medicine -- they cut down on stress-related illness and save health care dollars."

The survey of 632 men and women shows that workers often endure high levels of stress. That stress leads 34 percent of respondents to say they have such pressing jobs that they have no down time at work. As a result, 32 percent work and eat lunch at the same time, while another 32 percent never leave the building once they arrive at work. Nineteen percent say their job makes them feel older than they are, and 17 percent say work causes them to lose sleep at home.

Oxford's survey found that another reason one in six American workers (18 percent) is unable to use up annual vacation time is a corporate culture that discourages healthy behavior. …

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